“Persevering in the Pasture”

Pam HowlandBlog

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you… Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  1 Timothy 4:13-16

Several years ago I was challenged (by then Pastor, husband, Tom) to choose a life verse or passage. He instructed us that by choosing Scriptures that would shape our ministry, we would easily find our place of service in the Body of Christ.  Discovering that teaching is my primary spiritual gift and after praying for guidance from God’s Spirit, the verses above are what I felt led to choose.

I sensed God’s call on my life while I still had young children to rear at home. I’ve always involved myself in kids’ ministry wherever we lived and served. I love explaining Scripture to children. It’s a passion of mine to make sure they understand how much God loves them and desires a personal relationship with them. Having taught in children’s ministry for most of my Christian life, I was looking for verses about teaching.

What these verses say is so true; when you study to teach others, you learn so much yourself. I’m blessed to have been hired to do just that here at Hope and been given many platforms in which I could share God’s love and forgiveness to kids of all ages over the 20+ years we’ve attended Hope.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage; “Old ministers never retire; they’re just put out to pastor.” As a child, I mixed up the words ‘pastor’ and ‘pasture.’ I have a specific memory of addressing my childhood pastor as “Pasture Blevins,” and getting quite a chuckle from him and my parents.

I’ll be retiring in a few months, but sharing God’s love with children is not something that will end. Putting myself “out to pasture,” so to speak, will not end my passion of teaching kids. I can’t neglect using my spiritual gift of teaching – even in retirement, and look forward to further opportunities for using God’s gift.  Keeping my life verses in mind, I’ll always have a heart for teaching God’s Word to kids. While in retirement I’ll be persevering in the pasture.

What gift has God given you? How are you choosing to use it? What verse or passage defines your heart and service? Lots of great questions to ponder.

For His Kids,

Pam Howland
Pastor of Elementary Ministries